Re: Functional proteins from a random library

From: george murphy (
Date: Tue Apr 17 2001 - 07:31:00 EDT

  • Next message: Howard J. Van Till: "Re: Don't forget about me! (distal vs. proximate)"

    "Howard J. Van Till" wrote:

    > I had said:
    > > I don't know how to evaluate this [the metaphor of God "playing" the Creation
    > > as a violin maker/violinist plays a violin]. What kind of divine action might
    > > this "playing" of the violin represent? Something quite different from
    > > form-conferring interventions, I presume?
    > > -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    > Burgy replied:
    > > The fact you don't know "how to evaluate this" puzzles me. It really
    > > does. I cannot tell if we truly disagree, or are using words differently,
    > > or talking about different things. Or maybe all of the above.
    > >
    > > First of all -- it is a metaphor. Take it as such.
    > OK, no problem.
    > > Second -- I conceive of our Creator as having a sense of humor -- so
    > > "play" is an operative word. Think of the violin maker as also a great
    > > musician. Perhaps he is content to make the violin and listen to others
    > > play it. Or, just maybe, he takes pleasure in playing it himself also.
    > My problem is that the violin (unlike the Creation) has no capabilities for
    > acting except in response to a driving force applied to it. As you know by
    > now, I am not theologically comfortable with the idea of God coercing the
    > Creation.
    > > So God can take pleasure in us "playing" his creation, creating our own
    > > concepts and technologies, and also take pleasure in playing the creation
    > > himself. Yes -- this might involve the creation of unique new life forms
    > > from time to time.
    > This is where we differ. Perhaps we need go no further than that for now.
    > ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    > Skip a lot....
    > > I think I understand FGC better as a result of your last paragraph. I
    > > would observe that FGC, then, allows the violin maker to play his
    > > creation as much as my concept does;
    > See comment above re "driving force."
    > > it just does not allow him to make
    > > changes to it (the violin) as he plays but rather limits him to accepting
    > > only those changes he built into the violin in the first place.
    > The only limitations on God's action would be self-imposed, an expression of
    > God's character and God's will.
    > > It also
    > > says, I think, that while God is perfectly capable of creating, at any
    > > time and in any place, an entirely new and novel life form, he has not,
    > > does not, and will not, do this.
    > In the FGC perspective, all creaturely forms had the potentiality for their
    > being from the beginning. All "creation" (the act of giving being to the
    > universe) occurred at the beginning. What happens in time is not a new
    > "creation" but the first _actualization_ of some of those potentially viable
    > forms.
    > That's probably enough fiddling on this tune. You're welcome to have the
    > last note.

                Perhaps it's rude to break into the conversation at this point but ...
                In one way the metaphor of God playing a violin is not fundamentally
    different from classic
    illustrations of divine action like a person writing with a pen. The pen doesn''t
    write on its own - but neither does the person's hand. Rather, the hand and the
    pen _cooperate_ in the act of writing. The pen, like the violin, is an instrument
    with which one works.
                The drawback of a pen or a violin as illustrations is that, except for
    the filling the former or the tuning of the latter, they are_unchanging_
    instruments. Thus they are well suited to model a sort of PC, as Burgy I think
    wants, but not evolution. But that is simply a limitation of those particular
    models. A better one is a carpenter working with a box of tools. Here the
    carpenter and the tools together can make other things - chairs, tables, &c. But,
    again in cooperation, modifications can also be made to the tools themselves. And
    without troubling to develop an elaborate allegory, one could picture the
    collection of tools then evolving through the cooperation of the carpenter and the



    George L. Murphy
    "The Science-Theology Interface"

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